An Eco Thrifty Christmas

Christmas is approaching fast and Chanukah even faster!  There are last minute presents to buy, meals to plan, parties to attend and it is easy to get caught up in the rush and spend more money than you really want to and buy products that the rest of the year you wouldn’t look twice at.  There are lots of ways in which you can reduce costs at this time of year though and many of them are kind to the environment too.
1.     Buy second hand: 
This could cover anything from presents for your toddler, to a dining room table and chairs to see you through the Christmas period.  You will save  money, help prevent something from going to landfill and if you buy from a charity shop your money will go towards a good cause (have a look at:
2.  Ask whether anyone has the items you need going spare: 
You could ask friends and family, host a swap party (for example a dress swap party) or look online at websites where people are giving things away for free, such as freecycle. (see Clothes Swapping / Sharing
for more ideas)
  
3. Borrow the items you need from family and friends:
A friend may have a whole set of crockery in storage waiting for their child when they get older, which they don’t mind lending out for the Christmas period.  You won’t know until you ask!
4. Make things yourself:
Homemade Christmas decorations, presents and cards all have a personal touch and may well be better quality and cheaper than something you could buy in the shops.
To save even more money and bear the environment in mind, you could reuse or upcycle items that you would have otherwise thrown out (for example you could decorate a glass jar and turn it into a jewellery box, or fill it with homemade jam).
5. Refurbish old items:
Maybe some old chairs you have had for ages need a lick of paint and some new fabric on the seat pads to give them a new lease of life.  Or a piece of jewellery that has been in the family for years needs cleaning up and wearing or could be given to your child as a Christmas present.
6. Ask for help:
If you want to host everyone for Christmas dinner but can’t afford to buy all the food, ask everyone to bring a dish.  That way the cost is shared and there is less washing up to do afterwards as everyone takes their dishes home with them!
The holiday season doesn’t have to cost the earth (in both senses)!  Just a little time spent rethinking things you already have; asking friends and family if they are able to swap, share or help you and; perusing second hand shops or websites might save you some money.  You can also feel good about the fact that you are buying/ using second hand items
What ideas do you have for an eco-thrifty Christmas?  I would love to hear your ideas and comments!

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